Personal Development

10 Best Mental Health Books You Might Have Missed!

One of the toxic traits of society is forcing mental health to hide in the shadows. Believe it or not, words can give you the consoling hug you need.

Written by Manal Yahya

On Mar 31, 2023 – 8 minutes read

10 Best Mental Health Books You Might Have Missed!

“Just because it is happening inside your head should not mean that it is not real, right?” Dumbledore hits the nail right on the head when he says these words to Harry Potter. For those who are going through mental issues, their struggle is real, not imagined. So, here are 10 best mental health books we think you should read.

The compelling stigma surrounding mental health continues to be a constant battle of raising awareness and dispelling it.  Although the battle has been ongoing for years, it’s 2023 and the world is slowly coming to terms with mental health issues. We have overcome the addressing stage to a great extent. As of now, countless mental health books are trying to unpick the nuances in mental health conditions and how they manifest in different ways.

Because as hard it is to admit that mental health affects every aspect of our lives, it is as true as daylight. 

Best Mental Health Books: What’s On Your Bookshelves? 

With unemployment, broken down families and work from home days, the inert dormancy of our lives often allows intrusive thoughts to creep in almost imperceptibly. That gradual process of it is what we fail to notice. Such incessant thoughts sow the seeds for detrimental thoughts that make us feel every emotion we prefer not to feel.

And when we do, we shove them under the mat. After carefully wrapping them with shame, we suppress the emotions and don’t speak of it. As if, no one feels such emotions and it’s just you. Also, because we are not supposed to “speak of the taboo”, right? 

But thankfully, innumerable books about mental health address what the society has tried to bury in the sand for so long. Taking care of your mental health in a healthy way is unfortunately not an inherent personality trait. Rather, a learned and developed skill.

Best Mental Health Books

Sadly, not everyone thinks that there is even a need to learn this empowering skill. If you fail to encompass the parts of your mental, emotional, and psychological health, you ultimately fail to cultivate them. With the help of numerous books for better mental health, you can slowly sow the seeds of acceptance and healing in your mind.

Here’s a list of 10 best mental health books you might have missed. From addressing mental issues and how our mind works to overcoming cycling traumatic experiences with practical solutions to feel better, I can promise you these books will help you in ways you cannot imagine. 


Everyone needs a sane voice to make sense of the overbearing world we live in. Mine is Elif Shafak’s brilliantly intelligent voice trying to take our heads out of the water. It is truly a wonder how she covered so many topics namely identity, home, race, tribalism, democracy, anxiety, anger, and belongings in this tiny book. And each of the topics is vitally concerning humanity and the impact of words will leave the reader in awe.

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Her sense of self along with her love for the human psyche will touch the very core of your existence, mine did. She tries to unfold the truth of how being true to your stories and not lose your voice is an alarming wake-up call. She is a brave storyteller and I highly recommend this to everyone!

Best Mental Health Books: ANXIOUS PEOPLE – by Fredrik Backman

This is an uplifting fictional mental health book about being a human and it is a story that will speak to every reader of it. By covering the feelings we feel at our lowest moments, during the biggest and even smallest disappointments together with feelings of grief and despair, he brought humor out of it and makes the reader laugh out loud. Best mental health books are the ones that leaves your mind lighter.

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The whimsical and lyrical tone adds more to the story of a hostage situation of a strange group of people. Since we are all trying so hard to be adults, we can’t help but make mistakes. But instead of making you feel bad with the slap of raw truth, he lightens your heart. 


An inspiring, deeply moving, and life-affirming memoir of Matt Haig(1). Unlike other books on depression that are challenging to understand the depth of, this memoir is relatable and will sit with you for a long time after you close the book. One in five people suffer from some sort of mental illness and Haig was one among them.

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This book is about the black hole of depression he was living in and how he fought to get out of the hole with the help of his loved ones. It is more than a self-help book because it makes you live in depression and tells how you can help yourself to be saved from it without it consuming you wholly. Even without sugarcoating, Haig comforts in a strange way.

Best Mental Health Books: STOP HIDING AND START LIVING – by Bill Howatt

The crux of this inspiring book is that without learning how to fail, we will never truly flourish and hope is the antidote to fear. With the poignant and straightforward tone intertwined with an evocative personal narrative, the author brings theoretical to pragmatic.

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He clearly points out the difference between mental health and mental illness. We often get caught in the fight-or-flight mode due to stress and end up paralyzed with fear and unable to act. Thus, Bill Howatt tries to actively charge up the resilience of the reader for mental fitness to help deal with stress and get out of the “fear trap.” 


Going to therapy is another big ‘no’ from societal judgment and is reserved for ‘mentally ill people’. However absurd does that sound, if you have ever wondered what a therapist thinks when the patient is unloading on them, this book is for you.

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The author opens another door — a back door in particular — of therapy and shows us the world of a therapist. Through tragic and hilarious stories, she shares the power of vulnerability in each of them and keeps the reader gripped and touched. By taking the reader to both the sides of a coin, Lori Gottlieb helps the reader expand their perspective to understand and feel both sides(2). It is a witty and endearing story that will make you want to talk to someone!

Best Mental Health Books: THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE – by Bessel Van Der Kolk

If you have gone through a traumatic past and want to reclaim your life, this book is perfect for you. Renowned trauma expert Dr. Bessel van der Kolk(3), who has spent three decades working with survivors, transforms your understanding of traumatic stress through this book.

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He shows the connection between trauma and physical pain and just how our body works with our feelings and emotions. He pens down how trauma rearranges the brain’s wiring of certain areas — pleasure, engagement, control, and trust — and how can these areas be reactivated through treatments. This is a must-read book on mental health and healing to be aware of how our brain works with trauma and what we can do to protect ourselves against it.


A story of light and hope and the importance of being kind to one another. It is a rollercoaster of emotions and is a powerful and delightful read of a character study. Eleanor Oliphant is portrayed as a socially “misfit” with a socially inactive life in the beginning.

What are the best books to read for mental health?

But as we read, we realize that there’s more to her than the ordinary girl living an ordinary life. The author has seamlessly combined dark mystery and twisted elements in between the chapters of humor. This book will make you laugh, angry, empathetic, and may make you shed a few tears. 

Best Mental Health Books: THINK LIKE A MONK – by Jay Shetty

You might be familiar with Jay Shetty, the hotshot of social media platforms. His motivational videos and podcasts are incredibly inspiring, so you can only imagine how wonderful his book is(4). With timeless wisdom up in his sleeves, Jay Shetty shares practical advice on how to think like a monk and clear the roadblock to our true potential.

What is the number 1 mental illness?

It reveals how to overcome negative habits and thoughts and access the calm that lies within all of us. If you need pieces of ancient wisdom from a monk, go for this book and start to think like a monk. 


A self-help book on mental health that will tell you how to cope up with ego, loss, and pain in disappointing moments in life without wanting to throw rocks at people who caused it. Explored with Buddhist philosophies, she writes about dealing with both rushes of fear and a subtle undercurrent of fear from difficult events that we face. Things fall apart and we squirm, which is not a good idea.

Do books help mental health?

Because according to Pema Chodron things will continue to fall apart in life. But healing comes from letting there be room for all that’s happening, no matter how terrible. Room for grief, for relief, for misery, and for joy. After all, all emotions felt fully lead to joy. If things are falling apart in your life or not, read this book at least once. 

Best Mental Health Books: FURIOUSLY HAPPY – by Jenny Lawson

Another hilarious and heartfelt memoir of a journalist who walked with depression and other mental health issues in life. It truly is a funny story about horrible things. Jenny is painfully honest about her experience dealing with mental health issues. In a way, she tries to encourage the reader to find happiness in spite of such mood disorders.

How do I get better mentally?

The book explores the contradictory world of mental health and might leave you feeling like a human trainwreck but “furiously happy” at the end. However, many readers have complained about the book lacking a structure and felt like the author was ranting. So, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Although not every recommended book above is a self-help book, you can learn and unlearn various mental health notions. The first step to any crucial decision of learning is educating yourself. Each of these best mental health books does that so brilliantly. You do not want to miss these mental wellness books!

  1. Matt Haig. (2020). Matt Haig. [Online] Available at
  2. Goodreads. (2020). Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed. [Online] Available at
  3. (2020). Bessel van der Kolk on Trauma, Development, and Healing. [Online] Available at
  4. Jay Shetty. (n.d). Jay Shetty. [Online] Available at

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Manal is a lifestyle influencer who has spent years delving into the world of beauty, fashion, and wellness- a pro when it comes to anything woman.

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